Kyle Hansen

(KPAX) The final product for the Grizzly Indoor Practice Facility on the campus for the University of Montana is nearly complete. It's been a long process to get to this point, but the progress has been solid throughout the summer, and in just a few weeks, this facility will be operational.

At the beginning of June, the turf began to get placed down at the practice facility, as well as the completion of the track and support buildings, leaving the inflatable dome as the final piece of the puzzle.

"Eventually the bubble will be inflated," UM athletic director Kent Haslam said. "We see that happening in the next two to three weeks, and then the work on the inside of that bubble will take place. They've got to cut out exits, they've got to hang lights, a lot of work they've still got to do when that structure goes up."

After a series of delays affected the facility after it's groundbreaking in April of 2023, Haslam said everything has gone smoothly as construction ramped up in the summer months. Finally, the project is on schedule to be completed.

The $10.2 million project now has a max capacity of 2,100 people — versus it's previous mark of 300 — and Haslam estimated the facility should be operational by the first week of August, just in time for fall sports at the university to begin picking up steam.

"It's taken us a little while longer, that was purposeful," Haslam explained. "We got to a point where there's no reason to rush it, because putting it up any earlier wouldn't make any difference. So we're on target to have it in place and ready to go by the time we start fall camp."

Football, soccer, and spring sports like track and field and softball all will benefit this coming school year from the facility's addition into UM's arsenal. Not to mention the community impact at large in Missoula who will also benefit from it's creation.

"That's unbelievable the amount of work that they'll be able to get done in there," Haslam said. "So seeing this finally come around, I know the community's anxious. We've got a lot of folks that are anxious to rent it and get in there and start utilizing it as well."

The project is nearly complete, and those at UM are excited to see how it adds to their resources, and advantages on the field.

"It's a great addition. It will be tremendous. It looks gorgeous right now," Haslam said. "Just the field and the track and that brand new turf, it's exciting, and I know our student athletes are excited to start using it."